What is a Fatty liver?
It is a condition in which abnormal amounts of fat accumulates in the liver due to various reasons. This causes the healthy liver tissue to be replaced by fatty tissue. When 5%-10% of liver weight is composed of fat and the liver function starts declining, it is called fatty liver disease. The good news is, it is reversible and home remedies for fatty liver can be used to improve liver function.
This condition is observed in up to 75% of obese people, 35% of whom progress to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Prevalence among children 2-19 years of age is approximately 10%, which also increases with the degree of obesity.
After the skin, liver is the second largest organ of the body, and the most important one. It performs all the important functions of the body at cellular level. It is the manufacturing station, regulation center, storage and processing house, inspection center and a detoxifying center of the body, to name a few. So maintaining its health is of paramount importance.
What are Types of Fatty Liver Disease?
There are primarily two types of fatty liver disease:
1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
2. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
What Causes Fatty Liver?
There are multiple causes of fatty liver that include, but are not limited to:
- Diabetes & Hypertension
- Hepatitis C
- Disorders of fat metabolism, storage and transport
- Wilson’s Disease
- Drug Induced
- The Metabolic Syndrome
The components of metabolic syndrome are:
1. Type 2 diabetes
4. Fat disorders
5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What are Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms?
Most people do not have fatty liver symptoms until the liver cells are inflamed enough to have entered cirrhotic stage. They are usually discovered incidentally because of abnormal liver function tests or an enlarged liver. Ultrasounds and other imaging techniques can reveal fatty liver but are still unable to distinguish between simple fatty liver and advanced fatty liver disease. Liver biopsy is sought to assess severity of disease. While home remedies for fatty liver are effective no matter how severe the condition, they are most effective in the early stages.
The early symptoms of fatty liver can be very vague and non-specific. Many people are unaware of having a liver problem. The list of sign and symptoms present at the early stage of fatty liver disease include:
- General weakness
- Right upper abdominal pain
- Nausea and indigestion
- Excessive sweating and overheating of body
- Gall bladder stones
- Sudden weight loss
- Elevated liver enzymes (50% cases)
- Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels
What is Fatty Liver Treatment?
1. Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss and exercise are among the most promising of treatments for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A less than 10% decrease in body weight is enough to decrease liver fat.
2. Control diabetes (insulin resistance): Improving insulin resistance can somewhat prevent fatty acids from accumulating in liver cells.
3. Lipid lowering drugs like the statins have been used to treat the abnormal blood fatty acids associated with the metabolic syndrome.
4. Symptomatic: Reassurance, plenty of fluids and treating the symptoms present can provide patient with some relief.
5. Vitamins: Vitamin B complex along with Vitamin C, Selenium and Vitamin E are well known liver cleansing agents. You simply take these in oral supplement form.
Home Remedies for Fatty Liver
1. A Healthy Fatty Liver Diet
Poor diet is the leading cause of fatty liver disease. Raw vegetable juices should be consumed 2 to 3 times a week, 250 to 300 ml (8 to 10 ounces). The juice should be comprised of 90% to 95% vegetables, with the remainder comprised of fruit to improve the flavor. Citrus fruits are most healthy for the liver.
Try to incorporate these into your daily menu for a long lasting healthy life:
- Pre-Breakfast: Lemon water with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed (warm glass water with the juice of ½ lemon)
- Breakfast: A grapefruit
- Morning Snack: A smoothie of raw fruits and vegetables
- Afternoon Snack: Nuts and dried fruits, lemon water
- Dinner: Lentil soup with a large salad
- Pre-Bedtime: Drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Liver Friendly Foods:
- Fruits: Grapefruit, limes and lemons, apples, mangoes, pears and papaya
- Vegetables: Garlic, beets, avocados, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, artichokes, onions, cauliflower, kale, broccoli.
- Legumes: lentils and beans
- Whole grains: Rye, barley, oatmeal, brown rice
- Nuts: Walnuts, flax seed (flaxseeds are the best source of omega3 fatty acid for vegetarian. Minimum two spoonful should be taken daily)
- Oils: Olive oil, flax seed oil
- Spices: Turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon
Foods To Restrict:
- Foods high in sugar and carbs: bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, cakes, pastry, donuts, biscuits, fries, chips, pretzels (and other similar snack foods) and any food made of flour.
- Alcohol: limit to less than 2 glass a day.
2. Herbal Teas and Tonics:
Natural home remedies for fatty liver include herbal teas and tonics. If used properly, herbs work well in conjunction with a liver friendly diet.
Some known liver cleansing herbs, a combination of which can make herbal teas and tonics, are:
- Artichoke Extract
- Dandelion root
- Milk Thistle
- Yellow Dock
- Red clover
3. Detox and Cleanse:
Using home remedies for fatty liver detox and cleansing has proven extremely effective and beneficial. Following are a few recipes that you can use to make a homemade liver detox or cleanse:
Recipe 1 – Grapefruit Detox
Grapefruit, 1 large
Distilled water, 200 ml
Cold pressed flax oil or olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Garlic, 1-2 cloves
Ginger root, 2 inches finely grated
Cayenne pepper, a dash
Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth. After drinking it make sure to avoid eating or drinking anything else for the next two or three hours. In fact, keep the diet light for the rest of the day, eating salads, steamed vegetables and brown rice, where possible. Do this every 1-3 months for best results.
Recipe 2 – Cranberry Juice Detox
Cranberry juice, 8 oz (natural, no artificial sweeteners)
Water, 56 oz
Cinnamon, ½ tsp
Ginger, ¼ tsp
Nutmeg, ¼ tsp
Orange juice, ¾ cup freshly squeezed
Lemon juice, ¼ cup freshly squeezed
Honey (as natural sweetener)
Flax seed, ground
Put the water and cranberry juice in a pot and bring to a light boil. Tie the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a piece of cheesecloth or secure together in such a way that you can remove the “bag” after steeping for 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Add citrus juices and natural sweetener (honey) to improve the taste.
Recipe 3 – Beet Juice
1 lemon, peeled
1 handful parsley
Blend the ingredients together and enjoy.
Recipe 4 – Green Smoothie
2 oranges, peeled
1/2 rib celery
1 lemon, peeled
1/2 cup dandelion greens (or other bitter green)
1/2 cup parsley
Blend the above and enjoy a refreshing green smoothie
Recipe 5 – Liver Detox Tea
Tea requires equal parts fennel, fenugreek, flax; ¼ part burdock and licorice and some peppermint leaves.
Fill a pot with 20 ounces of water. Divide fennel, fenugreek and flax equally across an ounce. Add ¼ ounce divided burdock and licorice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add peppermint and let steep. Filter into a cup to drink as part of a liver cleansing diet.
You can use any or all of the above home remedies for fatty liver without fearing toxic drugs or harmful effects to your health. Although your body will appreciate a respite from toxic substances, long-term benefits of liver detox and cleanse need a commitment from you to change your diet and lifestyle habits. Simply give your hard working liver a helping hand and help it recover as much as you can.